Some Zombie Laptop Plans

I have this laptop: a Dell Inspiron 2200. It has no power. By that, I don’t mean that its processor struggles with the tasks I give it.

I mean that it has no electricity. It no longer works off the mains, probably because of the damage done to its power cord. Its battery has run down to the point that, when I try to boot it, it goes right into hibernate mode.

There are some files on the hard drive that I… need is probably too strong a word, that I’m reluctant to abandon. So, what to do? Let’s review.

  1. The best possible fate for an old internal drive is to become a super-handy external drive, advised Alpha Geek Rick at Lifehacker. His post, and the comments on it, make it sound easy and inexpensive.
  2. Buy a new power cord. The advantage is that it would give me back the laptop. But I’m not sure I want a slow, heavy, Windows laptop with a broken DVD/CD drive. And this would be more expensive than (1).
  3. As (2), but install Linux after getting the files off. The laptop would still be heavy, and the DVD drive still broken, but it wouldn’t be Windows and it wouldn’t be as slow.
  4. Borrow a power cord or battery for long enough to get the files off. I’ve already tried this at work, but they don’t have stuff that old.
  5. Forget about it unless and until I really need some of the files. But my home, office, and life are quite cluttered enough without a dormant laptop lying around.

I’m leaning toward (1). I note that Rick recommends NewEgg as a source for the enclosure I’d need. I also note that Rick’s post carries contextual ads, that the first of them points to a handy-looking page at xPCgear, but that recent PriceGrabber ratings of xPCgear tend to include words like worst, suck, and avoid.

I’d be grateful for any advice or other thoughts. I’d be impressed if you recognized the post title’s reference to the Kelly Link story “Some Zombie Contingency Plans,” which is available in the excellent Magic for Beginners collection.

5 thoughts on “Some Zombie Laptop Plans”

  1. Gotta admit that I would just pop up the laptop, pull out the hard drive, hook the drive up to another computer and just copy them over. I have computers laying around with their cases open. Not sure how comfortable you feel about that. Maybe taking it to a shop and just letting them burn it to a DVD or something like that.

  2. It’s always good to get comments, and particularly good when the source is the famous Dr Mike. I hope that we can sit down for a steak dinner some time – my treat!
    I don’t think that having PCs around with their cases open would be a good idea, although my one and a half year old son would have fun.
    I’m leaning toward taking the drive out, putting it in an enclosure, then making that my main music drive, sync’d to an online locker.

  3. Good point. When that laptop I got a few years failed, I just popped out the hard drive and ran a ribbon cable into one of the home computers to grab the data.

    The enclosure would probably be best if you feel comfortable with doing that. Either that or briging it to a shop and letting them deal with it.

  4. The enclosure option feels better and better. It’s time I enclosed something other than kids. I suspect that the drive will be more cooperative.
    Also, if I buy the enclosure from NewEgg or similar, it’ll give me the excuse to buy a few more little gadgets from there. You know: if I’m placing an order anyway…

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